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Best Green Houses


This New Old House: In rural Wisconsin, a modest building inspired by barns embodies sustainability knowledge of many vintages.

August 2011

By David Sokol

Arc House
Photo © Geoffrey Warner, AIA/Alchemy LLC, 2008
Click the image above to tour this month’s Best Green House.
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Don’t judge a barn house by its cover. A quick glance at Alchemy’s 1,850-finished-square-foot house in Blair, Wisconsin, would suggest that the building is only tenuously a structure—certainly not a sustainable design by the St. Paul, Minnesota–based team behind weeHouses. Rough-sawn white oak planks on the facade are widely gapped, and warping makes the shelter appear freshly twisted by wind.

“My intent was to relate to those types of buildings you see in the rural landscape; they’re all square-built but have recessed over time,” says Alchemy founder Geoffrey Warner. Instead of subjecting this house to the hourglass, Warner pulled the top of the southwestern corner slightly more to the south…


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